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GIG REVIEW: JS ONLINE - EH, RC, RT
3/20/2013 (updated 3/25/2013)

Old friends Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell perform Tuesday night at the Pabst Theater. Richard Thompson opened the show.

Thompson, who might have even more miles and experience than Harris and Crowell - the English singer, songwriter and guitarist has been recording and touring since the late '60s - was in particularly amazing form during his set. With bassist Taras Prodaniuk and energetic drummer Michael Jerome, Thompson took unstinting advantage of the trio format to focus tightly not just on his instrumental prowess but also on the durability of his songs.

He stuck mostly to the electric guitar (in keeping with the title of his latest album, Electric), and he spun out a solo on "Can't Win" that was an eloquent, if wordless, continuation of the embittered rage of the lyrics. Yet when he switched to acoustic for his folk classic "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," he was just as eloquent while finding prettier variations on an already pretty tune.

Like the headliners, he could have let his reputation carry him through his performance. Also like them, he played as though he had something to prove.

Jon M. Gilberston, JS Online, Journal Sentinel

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